TREES & plants

Mugo pine

Needles and cone of mugo pine.

Mugo pine is a small to large-sized, shrubby pine adapted for the home landscape. Plants vary in height, texture, and year-round color. Needles remain on plant for up to 5 years.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name: 
Pinus mugo
All Common Names: 
Mugo pine, Swiss mountain pine, Mugho pine, Creeping pine, Dwarf mountain pine
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Foundation, 
  • Hedge, 
  • Screen
Size Range: 
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet), 
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3, 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Early winter, 
  • Mid winter, 
  • Late winter, 
  • Early spring, 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early summer, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Late summer, 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall, 
  • Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Mounded, 
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
More Information: 

Size & Form

A dense evergreen shrub to multi-trunked dwarf tree which varies in size from 5 to 20 feet tall and wide.  Sizes varies by location.
Very slow growth rate.

Tree & Plant Care

Prefers a deep, well-drained, loose soil, quite adaptable to high pH soil.
Best in full sun, but one of the few pines to tolerant of part shade and windy sites.
Prune lightly for more compact shape by removing part of the new candles (spring growing shoots).
Easily transplanted, does not have a tap root.

Disease, pests, and problems

This plant is susceptible to pine needle scale and pine sawflies.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to mountainous areas in Central and Southern Europe.

Bark color and texture 

Gray brown and scaly but does not peel. 

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Needles in bundles of two, rigid and slightly curved needles.
Needles 1 to 3 inch long, bright green color with a serrated margin.
Needles persist for 5 years.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

No ornamental value

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

A dark gray ovoid cone, 1 to 2 inches long, held in clusters of 2 to 4, or found alone.
Slightly pendulous, tip of cone surrounded by a darker ring.

Cultivars and their differences 

Donna's Mini Dwarf Mugo (Pinus mugo 'Donna's Mini'): A dense low mounded, miniature evergreen reaching 12 to 18 feet high and 18 to 24 inches wide.

Enci Mugo pine (Pinus mugo ‘Enci’):  This cultivar grows 3-4 feet high and 3-5 feet wide with a mounded shape.

Slowmound Mugo pine (Pinus mugo 'Slowmound): Rounded, 2 to 3 feet high and wide. Dark green folage, excellent for rock gardens.

Tannenbaum Mugo pine (Pinus mugo 'Tannenbaum'): Compact, pyrimidal shape, 10 to 12 feet high and 5 to 6 feet wide; dark green foliage.

White Bud Dwarf Mugo pine (Pinus mugo 'White Bud'): A 2 to 3 foot high and wide, low mounded dwarf evergreen. Dark needles have a white, waxy winter bud coating adding winter interest.

Pinus mugo or Mugo pine